By Wayne William Cipriano
It is very difficult to dislike someone who is feeding your family when your family is hungry even if you share great philosophical, political, spiritual differences with them.
I’m not talking about feeding the hungry in exchange for good deals on their natural resources, for their commercial markets, so they will accept the placement of a military base, for inexpensive labor agreements, to persuade them to an international coalition, but feeding the hungry because we have a lot to eat and they need some of it.
What an interesting foreign policy is suggested. Pretty much every time we hear of strife, our first response is “send food.” Our second response “send more.”
Picture in your mind a place where a truly horrific catastrophe is occurring, natural disaster, political upheaval, whatever. There are 10-kilo sacks of rice or corn or some other widely consumed foodstuff being handed to a long line of people, just as many sacks as there are people in line. On each sack printed in English and the local dialect, the message “this is a gift from the people of the United States of America who wish you and your family well.”
You would have to be a very jaded American citizen to read that and not feel a thickening of pride and humility in your chest.
I have always agreed with Henry Kissinger’s observation that a nation does not have friends –– a nation has interests. And you are completely correct in thinking that not all foreign policy problems can be assuaged by feeding hungry people. But you have to admit it is a foreign policy response that seldom goes bad.